"So much killing went on in the months before the end, Jeremy." I said, "Lots of it was simple and crude, much of it done incompetently and opportunistically. I didn't care for that stuff. It was all amateur hour antics, and yet even so they got far more done than generations of bullshitting ever did. The best part was that the Internet covered all of it pretty much as it happened, sometimes with the killers streaming the killing as they did it."
"Dad says that it seemed like a madhouse."
"At first, sure, but that's because most people had lived so long in that illusion of permanent peace that they couldn't deal with the real world when it shattered those illusions and proved to them just how wrong they were. The stronger ones adapted quickly and did one of the smart things: ran or fought back. Most of them knew enough about themselves to know that they couldn't really fight back, so they ran like hell and got out of wherever they were in favor of someplace else. Those small groups that got rolled by roving gangs, or zeds, or anyone else with the good sense to not be pussies? Born of those thinking that they could always run and hide."
"What about the police?"
"They didn't like dying anymore than anyone else did."
"Really? It's that simple?"
"After just enough people lost their fear of the cops, due to seeing just how incompetent all but the best of them were, the slaughter of anyone in a cop uniform was catastrophic. The ghettos, where the street gangs had their presence, turned into killing fields overnight once that happened and it happened after I'd already swamped them with my own work. City cops, then deputies, then state patrol, then Feds- and man, the cascading effect once the people saw that the Feds were just dudes with suits and guns and so on turned already bad scenes into total collapse. Governments big and small dropped all pretense of being 'for the people', and just took care of their own openly- like that made it better."
"So the end began in the middle of the country?"
"Yeah." I said, showing some pride, "I guess you could say that it did. Long overdue, by the way. Too many folks forgot the way this shit really works; too big a claim of turf, and too little real power to make it stick. Collapse like this had to come sooner or later, and it was on its way even if I didn't start clearing out the crap."
"The world's economy was about to fall through the floor, and World War 3 was already shaping up."